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​Two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs depart to continue a mission after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 447th Air Expeditionary Group over Syria, Dec. 1, 2017. Air Force photo by SSgt. Paul Labbe.

Moody’s Flying Tigers Wrap-Up Intense Deployment Fighting ISIS

More than 300 airmen and A-10s from the 74th Fighter Squadron are returning to Moody AFB, Ga., after a deployment that saw the Warthogs provide close air support for US-backed fighters in an intense urban fight against ISIS in Raqqa, Syria. “It was a difficult location to work in and we faced some situations that we have not dealt with before we arrived here,” said Maj. Matthew Cichowski, 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron director of operations. Read the full story by Brian Everstine and Jennifer Hlad.


DOD Denies Russian Claims Coalition Attacked Hmeimim with Homemade Drones

The Pentagon denies accusations by Russian state-run media that the US or coalition partners were involved in an attack on Hmeimim air base, the country’s Syrian operations headquarters, DOD spokesman Eric Pahon told Air Force Magazine. Pahon said any suggestion otherwise “is without any basis in fact and utterly irresponsible.” The Washington Post reported 13 drones recently attacked Russia’s Hmeimim air base, in what may be “the biggest military challenge yet” to its presence in Syria. Russians shot down seven of the swarm and disabled the rest electronically, according to the Post, which added the country claimed “no serious damage was caused.” It’s officially unclear who perpetrated the attacks by the homemade drones, one of which you can see in this Facebook post from Russia's Ministry of Defense. Russian government-sponsored news outlet RT reported the Russian military is claiming the attack came from nearby Idlib, “which is controlled by Turkish-backed rebel forces.” However, in the Russian state-run media outlet Tass, an anonymous source from the Ministry of Defense claimed a US Navy P-8A Poseidon ISR aircraft was “detected” in the area during the drone attack, calling its presence a “strange coincidence.” Pahon said the Defense Department does “not discuss the disposition of our intelligence platforms,” adding, “I don't have details about what Russian forces are encountering, but I can tell you that coalition forces and our partners have encountered commercially available unmanned aerial systems used by ISIS.” —Gideon Grudo

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Official Lauds Value of Pentagon Audit in House Testimony

The Defense Department is expected to spend about $367 million in 2018 on its first department-wide audit, and another $551 million to fix any problems auditors identify, but that cost is important for business reform, the department’s comptroller told a House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday. David L. Norquist said the audit looks to verify the count, location, and condition of military equipment and real property, and will involve 1,200 financial statement auditors assessing records. Norquist said that in an initial audit, the Army found 39 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were not properly recorded in the property system, and the Air Force “identified 478 structures and buildings at 12 installations that were not in its real property system.”—Steve Hirsch


SBIRS GEO Flight-4 Completes Encapsulation

The Air Force’s fourth Space Based Infrared System completed its encapsulation Tuesday at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., according to an Air Force announcement. SBIRS is a network of satellites, payloads, and ground processing and control systems collecting and transmitting infrared data used for early missile warning and defense. The encapsulation marks the satellite’s completion of all major testing milestones before launch, which is now set for Jan. 16.—Steve Hirsch

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RADAR SWEEP


—Several al-Qaida leaders were killed in airstrikes in Yemen last month, including Habib al-Sana’ani, a deputy arms facilitator; Miqdad al Sana’ani, an external operations facilitator; and Abu Umar al-Sana’ani, a Dawah committee member: DOD release.

—A $496 million, potential 10-year Data Link Enterprise contract recently awarded to nine companies “will focus on accommodating command-and-control data, signals intelligence, geospatial intelligence, full-motion video data and information capture:” Washington Technology.

—The Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing is undergoing a multi-phase construction project to be complete in 2019: DOD release.

—The National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is getting less visitors these days: Dayton Daily News.